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College Basketball: Suspension and Injuries
by Bryan Leonard - 02/20/2012
If you want to turn a profit in the competitive world of sports wagering, it's necessary to keep up on things on a daily basis. Take injuries in college basketball. Injuries happen all the time and one has to be on top of everything. One season Alabama lost leading scorer Chuck Davis in midseason, gone for the year. How does this affect their ability to rebound? Did they have other offensive options to rely on? Is there a devastating psychological aspect that might take place when a team of high expectations loses its best player?
Speaking of Alabama, the Tide have had a tough go of late, losing JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell and Moussa Gueye. Green has been suspended by Alabama due to conduct detrimental to the team, he will be out indefinitely and is their leading scorer and rebounder.
In the Big 10, Purdue kicked guard Kelsey Barlow off the team and suspended swingman D.J. Byrd for a pivotal late-season game following an early-morning incident at a bar. Barlow, a 6-foot-5 guard from Indianapolis, started 22 of 26 games this season, averaging 24.3 minutes and 8 points. Injuries and suspensions can change the dynamics of a team and sap depth.
Remember 12 years ago when Cincinnati was No. 1 in the nation going into the March tournament, and in the first minute of the first game lost star forward Kenyon Martin to a broken leg? That flattened their chances and their emotional state.
I'm not just talking about season-ending injuries to star players, either. Role players can be a huge key to a team's success, such as the unsung rebounding forward who does the dirty work under the boards. If that role player is lost for a few weeks or the entire season, that can alter the subtle chemistry on a team.
In addition, players often play through nagging injuries that pop up during a long season. Northern Iowa recently lost one of its top players, Lucas Lucas O'Rear, a senior leader and leading rebounder for the Panthers. They then went 1-3 SU/0-4 ATS.
Arkansas State was a good example a few years ago. The Indians have had several players suffer nagging injuries. In a win at Little Rock, they had to go with only 5 players for the final 12 minutes of the game! In their next game, they lost and failed to cover at Middle Tennessee State as the lack of depth took a toll. Check out the box score on that game. Notice that Arkansas State used 5 starters and one sixth man pretty much the whole game. It was no surprise they wilted down the stretch as MTS pulled away late.
If a player has a strong defensive guard that is hurting with an ankle or hamstring problem, maybe the injury isn't severe enough to force him to sit down, but it also may hinder his effectiveness. He could loss a step or two and be vulnerable to penetrating guards, or not be quick enough to defend on the perimeter anymore. You can identify this by looking at box scores and seeing if they are allowing more three-point shots, for instance.
Northern Iowa had a similar thing a few years ago when they just lost senior guard Erik Crawford for four to six weeks after suffering a broken bone in his right foot. Crawford was averaging 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and had started all 17 games for the Panthers. He had made 80 consecutive starts for the Panthers. That was something serious sports bettors need to circle and keep tabs on.
Also, some teams get players back because of injuries and suspensions. All of this goes beyond stats. Stats can be almost meaningless when key players, both starters and role players, are hurting or seriously injured.